Saturday, February 19, 2011

American Council on Science and Health, 2011: Week Six

By Rich Kozlovich


Over many years of reading ACSH's Dispatches I have always been amazed at how much they review....and on how many subjects. Although I have strong opinions on many green issues and write about them, I mostly stay within my own realm of pest control and the chemistry involved. The people at ACSH cover so many topics and issues each week that it amazes me. When visiting their web page you will find so much information on these topics that it makes me wonder how many people actually work there. When in reality....I don't think there are all that many, which makes their work all the more impressive.

In days gone by I decided to organize all of this stuff by topic and publish the links once a month, but there was just way too much information, way too many issues, way too many topics….and it got way too complicated, so I abandoned that little project. My problem is that I have a job that interferes with my life. However, this week I have attempted to organize this week's links topically to some small extent. Beginning this week I will also be adding some of my own comments at the end of some of the links, much as I do in my weekly newsletter.

I hope everyone enjoys this week's offerings.


Whatever Happened to AIDS?
ACSH's Dr. Josh Bloom has published a paper today on the largely untold story of how one of the scariest diseases of the 20th century - AIDS - was beaten back by modern pharmaceutical research.

Investor’s Business Daily hails ACSH AIDS paper
Today's Investor's Business Daily includes an editorial lauding the new paper by ACSH's Dr. Josh Bloom on the central role that the American pharmaceutical companies played in taming the AIDS epidemic.

Experts say X-rays, scans for lower back pain lack support
The American College of Physicians (ACP) announced new guidelines for the assessment of lower back pain that call for fewer imaging scans.

New FDA-approved 3-D mammography devices may add extra dimension to breast cancer detection
There's good news for women worried about their annual mammogram - the FDA has just approved a new 3-D mammography device that may help doctors more accurately detect breast cancer.

Health reform’s emphasis on early diagnosis: more harm than good?
Speaking of unnecessary medical procedures, a Q&A article in the Los Angeles Times with Dr. H. Gilbert Welch highlights his views on the potential public health consequences of preventative medicine.

High fiber diet may increase longevity
Some may start scouring their cupboards to dig into a fiber-rich meal after a study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, which reveals that eating more fiber may help people live longer.

Some researchers need to wake up and smell the energy drink
If it were left up to ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross, he would add a sub headline to the article "Energy Drinks May Hurt Kids: Study" that would read, "Then Again, Maybe They Don't."

India’s growing malnutrition could be ameliorated by approving biotech crops and pesticides
In a New York Times article Saturday, journalist Vikas Bajaj highlights the food struggle in rural India, where many people are confronted by the problems of malnutrition and soaring food prices. 
It is interesting that over all of these many years countries practicing "organic" agriculture couldn't wait to adopt modern techniques, including the use of GMO's, fertilizers and pesticides. Norman Borlaug proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that in order to feed the world we need these techniques.

It is also interesting that those living in the comfort of the first world who decry the use of these products and techniques, claiming great harm to society and the environment don't move to the countries that according to them should be paradisiac. I have also found that those who are the most vociferous in their demands are urban dwellers with access to more than enough food to care for all of their needs and the needs of their neighbors.

Even if they are "organic" grazers, that doesn't alter the fact that the enormous amounts of food produced with modern technuques permits their "organic" lifestyle. Eliminate modern techniques and food production will drop, prices will increase, and dystopia will follow. RK
New report shows that even without other risk factors obesity is deadly Yesterday's issue of the journal Heart reports on a study performed in Britain on 6,082 middle-aged men diagnosed with high cholesterol but with no history of heart disease or diabetes. The study authors wished to know whether obesity alone increased the likelihood of a fatal heart attack. Therefore, they controlled for other risk factors, including cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and arterial disease.

Study confirms calorie listings don’t have much bite
Last month we reported on a study in the Seattle-area showing that listing the calories in different items offered at fast food restaurants did not affect customers' eating habits. This conclusion is bolstered by a new study undertaken in New York City and Newark, New Jersey published online by the International Journal of Obesity.

FDA loosens the belt on Lap-Band surgery
After rejecting the approval of three new weight-loss drugs in the past few months, the FDA on Wednesday implemented a change which represents a minor advance in the fight against the obesity epidemic: lowering the requirements for patients who wish to use Allergan's Lap-Band stomach-restricting device.

Diabetics get sweet news on salt intake
An observational study published in the journal Diabetes Care is calling into question recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans that recommend adults, and especially diabetics, should consume no more than two-thirds of a teaspoon of salt per day, or about 1.5 grams.

FDA denied: Drug development down as companies face steeper regulations
The prognosis for the approval of innovative new drugs is more dismal than ever.

New anticoagulant Pradaxa offers benefits over mainstay Coumadin
Three different heart groups - the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and the Heart Rhythm Society - all have just announced that the recently approved anticoagulant dabigatran (Pradaxa) should be considered as an alternative to warfarin (Coumadin) as treatment for patients suffering from atrial fibrillation.

Avastin eyes new indication for retinopathy of prematurity
Roche Holding AG's cancer drug Avastin has been shown in a new study published in this week's New England Journal of Medicine to hold great promise for treating retinopathy of prematurity, a devastating condition among some premature babies.

Keeping a watchful eye out for a major risk factor for blindness
t turns out that the French don't just produce good wine. A just released study published in the Archives ofOphthalmology of 700 diabetic men and women in Western France shows that the risk of retinopathy in diabetic patients is directly related to their glycemic levels. Retinopathy in diabetics is one of the leading causes of visual impairment in adults of middle-age and older. The degree of glucose control in the diabetic population was monitored using both fasting blood

Cold hard evidence for zinc remedy? Not quite
A new study from the medical clearinghouse Cochrane Database indicates that zinc-containing medications may shed days off cold symptoms compared to a placebo, but the jury is still out on the best formulation recommended for consumers.

Careful! Cold medicines are not for small children
While more consumers may begin looking to zinc as remedies for their colds, new data indicate that many parents are inappropriately administering other over-the-counter (OTC) cold remedies to their infants.

CSPI call for caramel color ban is artificially flavored with misrepresented science
When ACSH first heard about the latest push for an FDA ban by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) - this time for the supposed "carcinogen" and caramel coloring byproduct 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI), found in colas  - we thought this would be just another one of the activist group's dead end stories.

Banning e-cigarettes on planes flies in the face of science
Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals refused to reevaluate an appellate court's December 2010 decision to not grant the FDA the authority to regulate e-cigarettes as medical devices. Yet this court decision has not stopped the U.S. Department of Transportation from banning e-cigarettes on U.S. flights.

Senators’ pitch for MLB smokeless tobacco ban
If two Senators have their way, baseball fans will no longer have to watch their favorite ball players spit in the dugout or field - at least not tobacco, that is.

Small businesses needlessly burdened with CPSIA over-regulation
Representatives from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) testified yesterday before the subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee alongside representatives of various small businesses and manufacturers regarding the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008.

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If there is a health scare today, the American Council on Science and Health will most likely have the answer by tomorrow; and for members it will appear in your e-mail. No effort on your part, except to read the answer. All that the ACSH is interested in are the facts and they are prepared to follow them wherever they lead. Who can ask for more?  Please Donate Now!

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